The solar collector is responsible for collecting useful energy from the sun and passing it to the circulating water. The collector is mounted externally, usually on the roof of the building. Collectors can be mounted on pitched roofs or upon frames on flat roof areas.
The collector should ideally be installed facing true south. However south east or west has been deemed as acceptable, losing only 10 % in efficiency. The collectors should also be angled at an incline of 35 Deg from the horizontal plane to give adequate performance annually. The collectors fall into two basic types...
Flat plate collectors
A flat plate is mounted within a glass framed box, the plate will have a dark or selective surface. Joined directly to the plate will be a series of pipes that the circulating water is passed through. Heat is absorbed by the plate and passed to the circulating water. The glass helps to protect the plate from the weather elements, and helps to bounce the suns energy back to the plate (rather like a green house).
Flat plate collectors can be surface mounted or integrated into the roofing surfaces...
Evacuated tube collectors
The flat absorber plates are installed within long glass double walled tubes, with water tubes attached to it. The area between the two glass walls are under a vacuum (similar to a thermos flask). The principle actually works the same as the thermos flask. Once the heat is directed to the plate collector, it has difficulty in leaking back to the surrounding area, due to the insulating effect of the vacuum. These are one of the most efficient collectors.
Evacuated tube collectors are usually surface mounted...
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